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Six Senses Con Dao a sea turtle preservation center

Released at: 14:18, 31/03/2019

Six Senses Con Dao a sea turtle preservation center

Turtle hatchling release at the resort. Photo: Six Senses Con Dao

Resort now a venue for sea turtle eggs to hatch and receive care.

by Le Diem

Six Senses Con Dao, in collaboration with Con Dao National Parks, has become home to clutches of sea turtle eggs as part of animal protection and preservation efforts, making it one of the very few resorts where guests can marvel at the experience of turtle hatchlings venturing down the beach into the wide and free waters of the ocean. This is also only one of the resort’s various programs to engage its guests to protect the sea turtles and contribute to the sustainable development of Con Dao’s ecosystem.

The Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle are the two most prominent species of turtles found in Vietnam. Classified as “endangered” in the Vietnam Red Data Book and “critically endangered” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals, these species are normally discovered in coastal regions and islands from Quang Nam to Ninh Thuan, Con Dao Island, and the Gulf of Thailand. Con Dao’s surrounding waters has the largest population of Green Turtles and is also where they come to lay eggs most frequently.

This could be explained by its well-preserved ecological system which has been reestablished in proximity of the resort, which appears to be a favored spot for them to nest.

The resort’s incubation center, “Let’s Get Cracking”, has since become home to many new hatchlings, where guests participate in the conservation efforts by joining early morning releases right on the resort’s very own beach.

This 50 sq m incubation enclosure is able to accommodate up to 40 turtle clutches at the same time. To provide the best hatching conditions, after being handed over by the National Parks team, each clutch is placed in a pre-burrowed nest that is 60 cm below the sand surface. Each nest is then safeguarded by a wooden frame and personalized with a sign indicating date and number of eggs per clutch, so the team can keep track of each nest. Normally, it will take around 40 to 70 days for the eggs to hatch with a success rate varying from 50 per cent to 80 per cent. At Six Senses Con Dao, this process lasts from 55 to 60 days with a success rate of 83 per cent. The process of hatching eggs takes place at a temperature of 28C to 32C. The higher the temperature, the quicker they hatch.

In general, the egg-laying season here is from May to October, but 2018 witnessed sea turtles visiting the Six Sense Con Dao beach from January to March to find the perfect spot to lay their eggs. This has been an auspicious sign for both the turtles and the resort. By the end of 2018, the resort had received 56 clutches with a total 2,904 turtle hatchlings, out of 3,500 eggs handed over by the Con Dao National Park’s team successfully hatched at the resort. More than 70 per cent of in-house guests participate every time a turtle hatchling release occurs. Most are amazed by what the resort has been doing to protect the endangered species and simultaneously offering such an activity allowing them to involve their children, so they can witness a special moment in nature and learn more about how they can also contribute to the legacy of marine conservation.

Recently, on March 18, the resort welcomed a mama turtle coming to its private shore to lay eggs. Some 90 eggs were carefully collected and are now being hatched at “Let’s Get Cracking”. It is expected that the resort will welcome more than 60 turtle clutches this year, offering opportunities for visitors to be able to take part in this out-of-the-ordinary experience.

“Let’s Get Cracking” indicates the resort’s commitment to sustainability as well as its contribution to the improvement of Con Dao’s ecosystem. As Green Turtles are well-known for the remarkable ability to migrate hundreds of miles from the feeding ground to faithfully return to the nesting beach where they were born, to lay their very own eggs, this promises great potential for the resort to welcome back it’s “baby turtles” to home shores once again in the future.

Known as the first and only five-star resort on the remote Con Dao Island off the coast of southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province, Six Senses Con Dao is located in a national and marine park. Comprising 50 contemporary pool villas, it offers several dining options with seafood and a focus on world cuisine. In 2017, it was selected as one of the best secret beach destinations on Earth by Travel + Leisure magazine.

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